WCO has been ‘on’ a Holland v. Spain final since the draw. We see no reason to change our minds on that and expect Holland to win the trophy for the first time. No other country has brought more to the game and failed to win the big one so it’s long overdue and will make some amends for 74 and 78.
As scholars of the global game we have been working on a statistical analysis* of the world’s greatest tourno [What else are you going to do on a match free day?]. The outcomes confirm many of the accepted wisdom’s and challenge a few others.
Yes, Brazil is the most successful team in the history of the World Cup but Germany have been to as many finals [7 each]. They have just, surprisingly, lost more than they have won.
England hang around at the bottom of the top 10 by virtue of winning it once but neighbours like the Czechs, Hungary and Holland have gone further in the competition more often. That confirms what we have been saying for years. Despite media hype and a blinkered fan base, England’s natural place in the football world order is somewhere between the last 16 and the Quarter Finals.
If our predictions are correct then Holland would replace France in the all time top six and Spain would move from 20 to 12th place.
The fly in our statistical ointment is the unexpected form of the Germans. The nightmare scenario for Holland would be to face Germany in a repeat of 1974, and see a repeat of the outcome.
If that came to pass Germany would overtake the Brazilians as the most successful team in the history of the tournament. That will kick-start four years of existential angst in Brazil as they prepare to host the 2014 tournament as the ‘Second Best’ team in the world. See the horror in the chart below.
Of course we could be completely wrong, it has happened once. Uruguay may come through both of their games and replace Argentina as the fourth most successful team in history. Now that would be funny.* points system – 8 for a win, 4 for runner up, 2 for third and 1 for fourth